8/23/2013

c.1925 Martin Style 0 Soprano Ukulele


This is a customer's lovely little old Martin, all mahogany, in the plainest "style 0" format. The sound is tremendous! Full, rich, loud, and sweet. Typical 20s Martin!

It was in the shop for a fret level/dress, setup, and some bridge work (the old string slots were worn out and needed filling and drilling).



Ebony nut, replacement ebony friction pegs. The owner likes Martin Fluorocarbons so that's what's on this guy (I like 'em too).


Curiously enough, the frets were very pitted. That, combined with the worn-out bridge slots, says to me that someone was steel-stringing this. Amazingly, it shaped back up and plays comfortably with a hair under 3/32" action at the 12th fret. It could probably be slightly lower (a hair over 1/16" for Aquilas) but the light-gauge fluorocarbon strings will tend to "snap" on the frets as you dial it down with them.


There's definitely some pick wear around the soundhole, but luckily the top is crack frree.


The slots were quite worn to begin with, but I backfilled them and redrilled them so as to save the original bridge. I try to make modifications like these as unobtrusive as possible with the end result (hopefully) fitting in with the "worn in" look of the rest of the bridge.





There are a few hairline cracks on the back that were previously repaired.



Here's how the bridge was to begin with, and a step-by-step for anyone interested...


First the masking tape, always the masking tape!


Next, super glue gel goes in the slots and powdered rosewood (sanding dust) is plopped in.


Rinse and repeat, pushing the powdered wood into the slots. After that I can drill new mounting holes and cut new slots. While the end result of this filler looks darker, it's good strong stuff (better than wood putty) and will hardly be able to be seen once the new slots and hole are cut anyway (it'll just appear as darker "worn" edges around the string ends).

1 comment:

Bill Graham said...

Love the repair shots and ideas.
Good work!